For the last couple of years, singer/actor Erykah Badu has been largely off the radar, raising her kids, pursuing film and television roles and dealing with writer’s block. So working with a forward-looking crew of producers, musicians and writers, including Madlib, the Roots, Sa-Ra Creative Partners and Karriem Riggins, was a wise move; they do a decent job on the funky New Amerykah, a throwback to the black power sound and consciousness-raising themes of the 70s.
There’s no doubt the disc will get her loads of attention, and it’s not just because of that dope Honey video clip. The main point of discussion will be Badu’s shout-out to controversial Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan in the song Me: “I salute you, Farrakhan, cuz you are me.” The fact is that many people won’t be able to get past that third track, and others won’t listen to the album at all.
Evidently, no one told Badu that aligning herself with someone perceived to be a bigoted anti-Semite might not be helpful to her comeback bid. She’ll likely have to deal with questions about her beliefs and biases from the press, concert promoters, label reps and former fans for years to come.